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Michelle Williams for US Vogue, photographed by Annie Leibovitz, October 2011:

Marilyn by Bert Stern and Norman Mailer:

I always loved the work of the photographer James Haspiel, that followed Marilyn for 20 years, taking exclusive photographs of her (they became close friends) and creating a huge archive of photos of the star in everyday life, out of the scenes. I bought his book Marilyn – The Ultimate Look at the Legend when I was 15 and I was so proud of owning a big book full of cool rare photographs. Useless to say, Marilyn Monroe was way more stunning with no make up and hair done: this made her look so special, so unique in these photos taken through all her career, from the rising to success.

Some candids taken by Haspiel

Interesting to say, James Haspiel in the book claims that his favourite photo of Marilyn is this one below, where She’s giving her back, alone at a crossroad in New York. She was wearing a scarf on her head, sunglasses and flat loafers. She could have been anyone, but She was Marilyn Monroe. Around her an american street’s landscape, made of shops, restaurants, seafoam green Chevrolets and buildings: this photo is so beautiful it looks like a painting in its stillness, showing an Hopper-esque sense of time stopping and melancholy. That is what we can often see in Marilyn’s face in many photos that portray her face and her look. It’s beautiful when photography reveals you something that you can’t actually see.

“It’s a terrible thing to be lonesome, especially in the middle of a crowd” – (from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)